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Workforce Investment Act: Substantial Funds Are Used for Training, but Little Is Known Nationally about Training Outcomes

GAO-05-650 Published: Jun 29, 2005. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 2005.
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The Congress passed the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in 1998 seeking to create a system connecting employment, education, and training services to better match job seekers to labor market needs. However, questions have been raised about how WIA funds are being used and, in particular, how much is being spent on training. Contributing to the concern about the use of WIA funds is the lack of accurate information about the extent to which WIA participants are enrolled in training activities. GAO was asked to determine (1) the extent to which WIA funds are used for training, (2) how local workforce boards manage the use of Individual Training Accounts (ITA) and what challenges they have encountered, and (3) what is known at the national level about outcomes of those being trained. In its comments, the Department of Labor (Labor) noted that some of our estimates on training conflicts with their estimates. Labor's estimate of the number of adults trained comes from their database and includes only those who had exited from the program. GAO's estimates represent a more complete and accurate picture than Labor's because they are based on information obtained directly from the local workforce areas, include all funds spent or obligated for training, and count all adults who received training in program year 2003, not just those who exited the program.

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EducationEmployee trainingEmployment assistance programsFederal fundsFinancial analysisFunds managementLocally administered programsProgram managementTraining utilizationLabor force